Monday, 18 June 2012
How Could the Women's 200m Free Final Unfold in London?
One of the reasons the women's 200m Freestyle holds such intrigue is the different strengths of the favourites. Here is a virtual run down of six of the main protagonists' splits, taken from their best swims during the last two years.
1. Sjoestrom - 26.71
2. Heemskerk - 26.90
3. Schmitt - 27.01
4. Franklin - 27.09
5. Muffat - 27.18
6. Pellegrini - 27.62
1. Heemskerk - 55.56 (28.66)
2. Schmitt - 55.97 (28.96)
3. Sjoestrom - 56.09 (29.38)
4. Muffat - 56.39 (29.21)
5. Franklin - 56.44 (29.35)
6. Pellegrini - 57.04 (29.42)
1. Heemskerk - 1:25.27 (29.71)
2. Sjoestrom - 1:25.54 (29.45)
3. Muffat - 1:25.57 (29.18)
4. Schmitt - 1:25.73 (29.76)
5. Franklin - 1:25.82 (29.38)
6. Pellegrini - 1:26.18 (29.14)
1. Muffat - 1:54.66 (29.09)
2. Schmitt - 1:55.04 (29.31)
3. Franklin - 1:55.06 (29.24)
4. Sjoestrom - 1:55.23 (29.69)
5. Heemskerk - 1:55.54 (30.27)
6. Pellegrini - 1:55.58 (29.40)
Previous Race Tactics
Early gas - Femke Heemskerk, Sarah Sjoestrom
Fast 1st, 2nd & 4th 50s, slow 3rd 50 - Allison Schmitt
Consistent splits - Camille Muffat, Missy Franklin
Late surge - Federica Pellegrini
• Sjoestrom took her race out very hard for the first 50m, before settling into a manageable pace. As a result she was able to keep all splits sub-30 seconds. She also had very little competition when she swam her time in London. She might be dragged along with Heemskerk for 150m at a quicker pace and could have the strength to hang on.
• Allison Schmitt had a topsy-turvy race. She seemed to come off the gas slightly on the 3rd 50m, before picking up her pace again on the final 50m. If she had split 29.36 instead of 29.76 on the 3rd 50m she would have snuck inside Muffat's time. Slowing down on the 3rd 50m in London would likely result in her being passed by some of the other swimmers.
• Federica Pellegrini had the slowest split of all six swimmers for the first two 50m splits, she then made a big move between 100m and 150m. In London she may need to be closer to the action at 100m. When she won in Rome 2009 (with a suit on) she went out in 27.34 and 55.60 and was then able to come back in 28.78 and 28.60. With a 0.5second allowance for the suit per 50m, her last two laps look very much like those of Camille Muffat's.
• Femke Heemskerk showed at the Sette Colli competition that she still favours using her early speed in this event. If she tweaks her pacing slightly and gets to 150m in 26.9 / 55.7 (28.8) / 1:25.2 (29.5) she might have enough in reserve to get back home in a sub-30 second split, which would put her well in the frame for the medals.
• Camille Muffat's 1:55.21 from the Monaco Mare Nostrum meeting last week was a swim that has been slightly overlooked. The time was fast, but slower than her 1:54.66 from the week before... what wasn't highlighted though were her splits. In Monaco Muffat swam 27.96 / 57.86 / 1:27.35 / 1:55.21 - her final 50m split was an incredible 27.86 (a good split for most elite male 200m Freestylers). This could indicate that Muffat is setting up a Plan A and a Plan B depending on how the race or competition unfolds.
• We have yet to see Missy Franklin at her best in 2012 but her 1:55.04 relay first leg from Shanghai was very similar in pacing to Camille Muffat's 1:54.66. Their 50m splits were never more than 0.2 seconds apart from each other. Her 200m Backstroke race tactics also seem to confirm that she favours a more even race pace with a slight increase of speed on the final 50m.